Alaska Airlines Joins Oneworld By Summer 2021

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Alaska Airlines and American Airlines today announced West Coast-alliance that would see the Seattle based airline joining the Oneworld in 2021.

Alaska Airlines and American Airlines plan to bring back the earning and redeeming miles on each other’s flights in the first half of 2020 (this was recently scaled back). The airline intends to become a member of Oneworld Alliance by the summer of 2021 with full benefits for its frequent flyers.

Here’s what this means for Alaska Airlines MVP members:

Effective immediately:

  • Continue to earn Alaska Mileage Plan™ miles on American flights with an Alaska flight number (any American flight booked through our website).
  • Continue to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on any American Airlines flights.
  • Continue to access any of American’s 50 Admirals Club locations worldwide with an Alaska Lounge membership.
  • Continue to earn and redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on our current portfolio of 16 Global Partners.

Starting Spring 2020:

  • Earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles on any American Airlines flights, domestically and internationally.

Starting Summer 2021:

  • Earn and redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on all oneworld airlines.
  • Alaska elites will enjoy privileges, including priority boarding, premium seating, baggage benefits and more when you fly on American Airlines or any oneworld airline.
  • MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k members can access 650 lounges within the oneworld® airline network.

MVP Gold likey maps to Oneworld Sapphire that allows members to access all business class lounges and counters at the airport. MVP Gold 75 looks to become Emerald that allows first-class lounge and check-in.

Here’s the announcement from Alaska and AA:

SEATTLE and FORT WORTH, Texas — Today, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines announce an alliance to create more choice for West Coast customers. The expanded relationship between the airlines will offer customers several benefits, including:

  • Alaska Airlines intends to join the oneworld® alliance, the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated global airline alliance, by summer 2021, which will connect Alaska guests to more than 1,200 destinations worldwide.
  • American will launch the first service from Seattle (SEA) to Bangalore, India (BLR) beginning October 2020. A new American route from SEA to the global business hub London Heathrow (LHR) will begin flying in March 2021.
  • The airlines will continue their domestic codeshare that offers customers hassle-free booking and travel between the two networks. The codeshare will expand to include international routes from Los Angeles (LAX) and SEA.
  • Alaska and American loyalty members will enjoy benefits across both airlines, including the ability to earn and use miles on both airlines’ full networks, elite status reciprocity and lounge access to nearly 50 American Admirals Club lounges worldwide and seven Alaska Lounges in the U.S.

The alliance will give West Coast travelers more choices when traveling internationally, offer seamless access across a broader network and provide strategic growth for both airlines.

“Alaska has always been proud to serve Seattle, the city that we call home. We’re thrilled to give our guests more choice, broader use of loyalty benefits, and seamless global service with American and oneworld,” said Ben Minicucci, president of Alaska Airlines. “Additionally, international service to global business and tech hubs Heathrow and Bangalore is a tremendous win for the growing Seattle region and the West Coast.”

“Alaska Airlines has been an outstanding partner for nearly 40 years, and we’re excited to expand West Coast international service together,” said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines. “By connecting American’s strength in long-haul international flying and Alaska’s presence across the West Coast, we will build a better network for our customers than either airline could build alone. Together, we will deliver more value, benefits and choice for customers across the U.S. and around the globe.”

Alaska seeks full oneworld membership

Alaska intends to join oneworld, the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated global airline alliance. Once approved, oneworld membership will allow Alaska Mileage Plan loyalty members to earn and redeem miles through oneworld’s more than 1,200 international destinations. The alliance enables reciprocal benefits on other member airlines, such as priority check-in and boarding, access to preferred seats and free checked bags.

Seattle: An international gateway

Seattle’s first-ever direct flight to BLR will be available for purchase later this month, with daily flights beginning October 2020. Daily service between SEA and LHR will be available for purchase in May 2020 for flights starting March 2021.

“Beginning West Coast international service from Seattle will complement American’s strong existing international network from LAX,” said Vasu Raja, American’s Senior Vice President, Network Strategy. “India is a grossly underserved market, despite the number of businesses with a major presence in both India and the West Coast. By adding Seattle to Bangalore, we’re giving customers from more than 70 U.S. cities access to India in one stop or less — versus the two, three or four stops they’d have to make to get there in the past.”

Codeshare and Frequent Flier Benefits: More options for customers

Alaska and American will continue their domestic codeshare relationship, which was scheduled to shrink in March of 2020. The airlines will expand codeshare to West Coast international routes from SEA and LAX for broader international access and choice for customers. Codeshare gives customers seamless access to more destinations and reciprocal frequent flyer program benefits. Customers with lounge membership will enjoy shared access to nearly 50 American Admirals Club lounges worldwide and seven Alaska Lounges in the U.S. for same-day travel on American or Alaska flights.

“This alliance further opens the world for Alaska Airlines guests, whether traveling for business or pleasure,” said Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and Chief Commercial Officer of Alaska Airlines. “And importantly for our employees, and the communities we serve, this West Coast international alliance enables Alaska’s continued independent growth. As we’ve shared, we’re focused on delivering for our guests over the long-term – which means continued profitable growth to enable new aircraft and new opportunities. This supports those goals, and is an important step on the path.”

The implementation of the expanded relationship and other arrangements described herein is subject to the negotiation and execution of definitive documentation and governmental review.

Conclusion

There were rumors that Alaska would become Oneworld Connect-partner like Fiji Airways, but they decided to join the alliance as a full member.

I believe that it is inevitable that there will be changes to Alaska’s Mileage Plan partner award charts that right now are airline-specific and you cannot mix and match partners. It remains to be seen if they end up tightening the program that is quite lucrative now.

Alaska Airlines is already partner with seven Oneworld airlines (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM, and Qantas), of which LATAM is on its way out in a couple of months. The airline partners also include Korean Air (SkyTeam), Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance), Emirates, Icelandair, Al Al, and Condor, among others.

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